Animal Cognition: Proceedings of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Conference, June 2-4, 1982

By H. S. Terrace; H. L. Roitblat et al. | Go to book overview
success and fitness. For example, according to optimal foraging theory animals will forage preferentially in areas where prey density is highest ( Krebs & Davies, 1978). (Prey can refer to plants as well as animals) Although density estimates are usually thought to occur with time estimates (a combination of inter-prey intervals), they might also occur with count estimates (the number of prey) or rate estimates (the number of prey in a fixed time interval). An excellent set of chapters and references on optimal foraging theory is found in Kamil and Sargent ( 1981).Of course, it is possible that animals in a laboratory situation will provide evidence of capacities which have not been used as yet In nature. Such "prospective" evolution may result from (1) the natural selection of a general-purpose device that is likely to be successful in varied and changing environmental circumstances, (2) a concomitant development dependent upon the natural selection of some other specific capacity, or (3) the random variation in the evolution of cognitive abilities through speciation (e.g., Gould, 1980; Gould & Eldredge, 1977). This is in contrast to the natural selection of special-purpose devices that are proven successful in particular environments. For timing, counting, and rate discrimination, a single general-purpose accumulator may have evolved that can be operated in several modes (e.g., Run, Stop, and Event) rather than separate devices sensitive to temporal, numerical, and density attributes of a stimulus.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by NSF Research grants BNS 79-04792 and BNS 82-09834.
REFERENCES
Church R. M "The internal clock". In S. H Hulse, H Fowler, & W. K Honig (Eds.), Cognitive processes In animal behavior. Hillsdale, NJ.: Erlbaum, 1978.
Church R. M, & Doluty M. Z. "Bisection of temporal intervals". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 1977, 3, 216-228.
Davis. H., & Memmott. J. "Counting behavior in animals: A critical evaluation". Psychological Bulletin, 1982, 92, 547-571.
Davis H., Mommott J., & Hurwitz M. B. "Autocontingencies: A model for subtle behavioral control". Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1975, 104, 169-188.
Fernandes D. M., & Church R. M. "Discrimination of the number of sequential events by rats". Animal Learning and Behavior, 1982, 10, 171-176.

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